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Volume 6 No. 213

Media

Pay-TV coverage of Spanish football "could no longer be seen on the channels that have carried it for the last 20 years," according to Agustín Marco of EL CONFIDENCIAL. Sources said that Amazon and Facebook "are interested in bidding for the TV rights to La Liga starting in '19-20." La Liga President Javier Tebas confirmed Amazon and Facebook "are interested in making a bid early next year." Tebas: "We listen to everyone." La Liga is hoping to receive €2.3B ($2.7B) from the new TV contract. This would include €1.3B ($1.5B) from the broadcasters that acquire the domestic rights -- €300M ($352M) more than last time -- and €1B ($1.17B) from the company that lands the int'l rights (EL CONFIDENCIAL, 11/20).

The England & Wales Cricket Board announced a six-year broadcast rights agreement with beIN Media Group for int'l and domestic cricket coverage in the Middle East and North Africa. The deal will give beIN Media Group the rights to screen coverage from all of the ECB’s home int'l men’s and women’s series as well as its domestic competitions from next summer through the '24 season. It will encompass next summer's tours by India and Pakistan as well as the next home Ashes series against Australia in '19, plus action from the Twenty20 Blast, One-Day Cup, the County Championship and the ECB’s new eight-team T20 competition which launches in '20. As part of the agreement, beIN Media Group announced plans to introduce a dedicated beIN Sports cricket channel in the MENA region in '18. The channel will screen the broadcaster's cricket portfolio, including ECB and Cricket Australia content, as well as original programming, documentaries and magazine shows. BeIN Media Group will broadcast cricket in more than 24 countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and Morocco (ECB).

Sky Media produced a series of "talent-led, short video documentaries" with Shell V-Power and BMW UK that follows Adam Smith of Sky Sports program "Soccer AM" as he "sets out to see what it takes to be a professional footballer," according to Emily Tan of CAMPAIGN LIVE. The aim of the series, "Drive to perform," is to "highlight the importance of the right tools for both athletes and cars." The four episodes, which started on Nov. 16, follow Smith "as he embarks on a journey to see if he would be able to be a professional footballer" under the guidance of high-performance trainer Jamie Reynolds. During the series, "Smith seeks advice on how to perform at the top of his game from other professionals" while driving them in the new BMW M5. The celebrity-led videos will be featured as a native article on the Sky Sports and Sky News websites and "shortened versions of the content will run as ads across Sky’s TV, VoD and social channels." The TV campaign will also run through the Sky AdSmart targeting platform, "allowing BMW and Shell to deliver bespoke content to a relevant audience of affluent drivers at scale." The partnership was brokered by Sky Media and Mediacom (CAMPAIGN LIVE, 11/20).

U.K. broadcaster BT Sport announced it will continue to broadcast highlights of season four of the Formula E Championship. Starting with the season-opening doubleheader in Hong Kong on Dec. 2 and 3, BT Sport will air an extended highlights program from every round of the championship alongside Formula E's official magazine show, "Street Racers" (Formula E). 

Sport 24, the IMG-owned and operated 24-hour live sports channel for the airline and cruise line industries, will show full coverage of the upcoming Ashes Series between Australia and England. Passengers traveling internationally with Sport 24's partners will be able to watch live action from all five of the Ashes Test matches, as well as the five one day internationals and three T20 int'l tri-series matches. (IMG). 

Eleven Sports launched a fourth channel in Poland. The new service, Eleven Sports 4, will be available exclusively to nc+ subscribers for the first three months. The channel will be available at no extra charge in the extended basic tier and in other premium plans (Eleven). 

A strategic cooperation agreement was officially announced between Infront China, FIBA and the local organizing committee for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019. The FBWC 2019 will be staged across eight Chinese cities from Aug. 31-Sept. 15 (Infront).

Canal Digital Sweden reached an agreement with MTG for the carriage of Viasat’s sports channels. Canal Digital’s customers will have access to Viasat Sport with Viasat Sport Premium, Viasat Sport, Viasat Football, Viasat Hockey and Viasat Motor during the first quarter of '18. Canal Digital will "also launch the TV3 Sport in the basic range and also offer access to Viasat Golf and esportsTV" (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 11/20).

Discovery Communications’ Eurosport Player will "play a key role" in the broadcaster’s coverage of the Olympics. Beginning with the PyeongChang 2018 Games, viewers in most of Europe "will have to subscribe to the Eurosport Player in order to watch the multi-channel streams." Until now, viewers had the "opportunity to watch these online live streams for free on the websites of public broadcasters such as the BBC and NOS of the Netherlands" (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 11/20).

Swisscom reportedly acquired the remaining 25% of shares of entertainment company Cinetrade and has "thus become its sole owner." The financial details were not disclosed. Cinetrade Founder Stephan Sager will "take on a consultative role after selling his stake." Cinetrade CEO Wilfried Heinzelmann will "remain in his position, and no changes in the management are planned" (TELECOM PAPER, 11/20).

The Int'l Ski Federation (FIS) Nordic World Ski Championships 2019 announced Stora Enso as its presenting sponsor. The agreement was negotiated by TRIDEM Sports on behalf of Infront Sports & Media. The sponsorship guarantees Stora Enso significant exposure at the championships (Infront). 

ONE Championship is "diversifying its content strategy by producing a new documentary series." The series, "Rich Franklin's ONE Warrior Series" -- due for broadcast early '18 -- features martial artist Rich Franklin "as he travels from gym to gym across Asia to unearth and mentor the next martial arts superstar." Each 30-minute episode "will be screened across social media and online, as well as ONE's broadcast partners" (ASIA SPONSORSHIP NEWS, 11/17).